Friday 17 February 2023

Trying out some new running routes

At the beginning of the year I set myself a few goals. One of them was to do with fitness, specifically to find myself some new running routes. I try to run three times a week and I've maintained that fairly consistently for several years now. I like to run from my home, but although there are lots of houses my village is small, and I don't have much variation in my running routes - 5k only just makes a loop around the edge. I wanted to come up with some new routes to keep things interesting, as I enjoy using my run as a way of exploring the local area.

At university I spent a year living in Germany. There wasn't much to fill the time - no television, no phone, I only had what I could fit in my suitcase! - so at the weekends I started taking myself off for walks. I bought a big map of the area and I would pick out something interesting, maybe a church or a park, and plan myself a long walk there. I'm trying to do a similar thing now, having a browse on Google maps for a place that I've not been to before and taking myself there on a run.

I use Strava to track my running but for planning routes I use MapMyRun as I find the interface really easy to use and it's free. You can choose your starting point and then click along the roads that you want to take, it even automatically follows roads for you. It tells you the distance that you've plotted and then you can save the routes to refer back to. I think that if you use the app on your phone while you are running it will also direct you, but I've managed quite well with remembering the way I want to go. I sort them by distance so I can select my run depending on how fit I feel that day!

Running routes on MapMyRun

Last week I ran a new route which I had been putting off because it involved going over a level crossing twice and I don't like having to stop and wait mid run. But there was no train in either direction and I discovered a new park! It was a bit muddy at this time of year but it's somewhere to return in the summer when I can run across it properly. 

I challenged myself to map out five new runs, but I've already come up with lots more. Some of them are admittedly variations on a theme but even running a familiar route in reverse switches things up a bit. Now I'm going to think about how I can incorporate my run with the school run, stopping somewhere on the way back and doing a run from there that might be a bit more interesting. Hopefully this will help with my motivation when I'm really not in the mood for my run that day!

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